JUNE 19, 2021
Afropop singer, Adelusola Ebenezer popularly known as Olakira is one of the youngsters that are passionate about exporting African music to other parts of the world. In this interview with OLAITAN GANIU, he speaks on his grass to grace story, his latest EP, the impact of the internet on industry and more. Excerpts:
Tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up dead poor with my mom. I’m the last of her seven children. Dad was absent. I fell in love with music in the church from a very tender age and I was able to learn how to play musical instruments through the aid of the church and my elder brother.
I had my elementary and secondary school education in Lagos before proceeding to the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic to study Mass Communications.
What effect did your humble beginning have on the kind of music you make?
Growing up in Nigeria made me very ambitious, resilient and the need to find joy and happiness in every situation. I learnt that life, sometimes, can be really depressing, so I always look for ways to make myself and people happy and that’s why I make sweet happy music. Being raised by a single mum made me fall in love with women and appreciate them. You can sense this in my music. I did not experience drugs or violence hence I cannot express these things in my music.
Take us through your musical journey?
My journey into music started with basic lessons from my elder brother as a child with a lot of practice and growth in the church. I evolved from playing different instruments in the church band to choir boy and with a conscious effort towards development; I mastered the crafts of a true musician.
If not music career, what would you be doing?
You have a unique way of telling stories. Do you write your songs?
I write all my songs but sometimes there are good contributions from others as well during studio sessions. There have been times when I’ve written songs for others or contributed to songs that are not mine as well. I express myself better through music
What’s your definition of Afrobeat?
Afrobeat to me is the rhythm of Africans. It’s our vibe. You cannot learn it; you must be rooted in the culture.
What inspired your latest body of work, ‘4Play’ EP?
The massive success of In My Maserati led me to performances in the East and South of Africa. While on stage, fans wanted more so I would sometimes repeat Maserati performances to please them. So I felt compelled that my next release should be a body of work released within a short period of time.
It was titled, 4play because of the 4 major tracks that are intended to arouse my fans and lovers of good music prior to the main event, (Debut Album). The inspiration for the songs is from my travels, meeting, and experiencing different sounds and cultures because my music is mostly inspired by my immediate environment and mood.
What is the impact of the internet on the music business?
Not without its little shortcomings but the internet has hugely aided the growth of the music business in so many areas. From the creative process to distribution, promotion, audience engagement, and revenue generation in terms of streams compared to the pre-internet era.
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
Improve revenue generation with the government mechanisms that will enable content creators to profit from their hard work and end the hostility of the industry towards up and coming acts.
What do you want your legacy to be in the music industry?
To be known for making classic and timeless music.
Name three artistes you’d like to be compared to?
I am not to be compared to anyone, I will always do me and hopefully, the listeners accept me, for who I am.
Aside from music, what are your hobbies?
Video games, and agriculture.
What lessons have life taught you?
It’s better to make mistakes than fake perfection.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
I drove to a petrol station, got my tank filled to realize I left my wallet at home.
What is the most ‘useless’ talent you have?
I am a fast climber and I have never ever done anything meaningful with that.
Tell us what people don’t know about you?
I am a private person and shy.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
“Boss up quietly… You don’t have to make noise to make moves” by my record label Chief Executive, Ra.
How are you handling fame?
I handle all my fans equally, regardless of gender, they are the reason I am who I am. I try as much as possible to be myself at all times or as the Americans say ‘keep it real’ because a wise man once told me, ‘it is better to make mistakes than faking perfection’ and that has always guided my life.
Career-wise, are you satisfied with where you are?
To God be the glory, I am thankful for how far I have come but I’m hungry for more…success is addictive.
What’s next for you?
Pan African media tour. I will be releasing more visuals to some of the songs on the 4PlayEP soon. And I have started working on my album
SOURCE: THE NATION